What Mom never told you about manufacturing careers

By Susan Pohorski

If you grew up in the 1970s you probably thought manufacturing was dirty, dumb and dangerous. Your mom probably didn’t encourage you to follow that career path. “Go to law school. Get an MBA. Become a doctor or marry a doctor,” was probably her advice. That was then, this is now. 

Today, manufacturing is high tech, high skill, safe and clean. Not only that, you can make an average of $53,000 per year working in industry. Don’t be that mom. Tell your kids there are some great careers in manufacturing and you can get there pretty quickly without a lot of student loan debt. 

This month, Wisconsin employers are throwing open their doors and inviting young people to see for themselves what today’s manufacturing environment and opportunities are like. School groups will take part in some of the activities, but if your student doesn’t have that option, you can create it for them. Check out Wisconsin Manufacturing Month events in your area. 

For example TLX Technologies in Pewaukee will offer presentations, tours and hands-on demonstrations. Caterpillar is offering events in several locations showcasing careers in both skilled and professional fields. At Graphics System Corp. of Menomonee Falls students can explore 3-D printing and OEM Fabricators, Inc. will offer public tours at their Woodville facility.

Young students watch welder.The technical colleges are also hosting Manufacturing Month events. Nicolet College, Northcentral and Mid-state Technical Colleges will participate in the 3rd Annual Heavy Metal Tour for eighth graders and their parents on Wednesday, Oct. 8. Contact your local college to find out what is happening there.

Top in-demand career fields in manufacturing include: machinist, maintenance technician, safety specialist and machine operator. Wisconsin’s technical colleges offer certificates, diplomas and degrees in these fields with programs shaped by local employers. The technical colleges are also hosting Manufacturing Month events. Check with your local college to find out more. 

Early exposure to these career opportunities can give students the motivation to gain skills in science, technology and math. Putting these skills in context helps motivate learning. Showing students why they need to learn science, technology and math can make a difference. 

"Middle school, that's where we need to catch them," Ginger Wange, Science and Technology Development Manager at Twin Cities Public Television, told attendees at the Women in Manufacturing Summit. 

Take a look at modern manufacturing with your student during Manufacturing Month. Your kids will thank you later. 

 

Add new comment